Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween *****WARNING- NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH*******

When our family visited a Holmes County Amish farm open to tourists, several Amish in the community had gathered at the farm to butcher pigs. As we walked over to get a buggy ride, I saw a cat gnawing on something strange. It turned out to be the head of one of the two pigs that were butchered. To see a dozen or so Amish men standing around, cleaning meat, creating sausage and rendering lard was quite a sight. I imagine that my ancestors butchered pigs all the time just to have something to eat and didn't think twice about it. Today, I don't see what goes into the pork chop that I buy at the grocery store. The Amish seemed to be using everything from the pig except the heads, which this cat gladly nibbled from. Happy halloween, and I apologize if this is entirely too gross.


P.S. Check out my Sky Watch contribution at Tom Arbour Photography.


  1. I am surprised that they didn't use the meat from the heads for mincemeat. I use to help my grandpa butcher hogs. It's a hard job.We go to Sugar and Walnut Creek every year. It is commercialized but we like all of the flea markets, craft shops and of course the food.

  2. Okay, well, I asked for the grotesque.

    Hmmmm, my dad used to love headcheese (a gross-looking lunch meat). Do ya suppose...?

    Well Tom, thanks for giving me just one more reason to continue with the vegan diet. ;)

  3. Incredibly gross, yes, but in a morbidly intriguing sort of way. Kinda like contemplating how a whole turkey from the supermarket was once a walking, squawking bird before you pop it in the oven and eat it. Only in that case, you don't have to see the head.

    A great Hallowe'en subject. :)

  4. Oh my this is bad! However, I grew up in the semi-farm, and we used to butcher pig for every Xmas. Terrilbe sight, never liked the screaming pig. Happy Halloween! Anna :)

  5. A perfect Halloween photo! I love it, although I'm also curious as to why the head wasn't made into a tasty salumi - lots of flavorful fatty meat there that shouldn't be wasted!

  6. You didn't gross me out. My dad was a butcher when I was growing up. He had a grocery store in our little town and a locker service. I used to go with him to a farm to kill the cow or pig, then he would haul it up into the back of his pickup truck and take it back to the slaughter house. Once in awhile, the farmer would bring in a cow and Dad had an inside pen where he would shoot it then butcher it. It was just something I grew up with and really never thought a thing about it.
    He rendered lard in a huge iron cauldron-type thing. I was always the kid who brought the cool things in for science class, like the eye of a cow.

    Good times! LOL!

  7. Lots of memories there. More people should see a hog butchered. It shows the little kids that Jimmy Dean don't really make sausage.

    I forgot about theme day today so I just found some of the books I wrote and took a photo and published that. Too late to be included in the group but it worked for me. LOL

  8. Yuck...but I'm sure it was really neat to get to see how they did this. My dad wrote about "butchering day" on the farm in his book and it really is fascinating how they used every single bit and how they used to store it all before refrigeration. I'm surprised the cat got this much! It also reminds me of when I brought a disected cat home from biology class in high school to study and my mother had a fit and made me hang the bag out in the garage :-)

  9. Lona- Thank you.

    Earthmother- You are welcome.

    Seabrooke- Yes, I like the Turkey analogy. Gobble Gobble. Isn't Canada's thanksgiving soon? (or may have just occurred?)

    Anna- It is certainly interesting how many people have had some experience with butchering pigs. I hadn't.

    Adam- Interesting. I'm not sure. Maybe the Amish have a rule against eating the head of an animal?

    Kylee- Wow, quite a story. I can only imagine what those experiences were like.

    Hi Abe- You bet. We should all see where our food comes from.

    Mary- So you brought home your dissected cat? Interesting. I dissected a cat in High School, but he lived at school. I can only imagine what my mother would have done if I would have brought it home!

    Spooky- Yep, bad kitty is right. Ya can't blame him though, it is just looking for a little fresh meat.


  10. What...they didn't stick them up on pikes at the end of the driveway to warn the burglars away? Well that's hardly Celtic of them!

  11. Eeeewwww! I guess it is what is is but eeeewww! LOL! As you can see, I didn't stop looking. :-)